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Landscaping With the Lava Rock: Know Its Types, Uses, And More

lava rocks for landscaping of fireplace

What is lava rock?

Lava rock is a decorative material that's used in landscaping. It's a member of the igneous rock family and is a material that's formed from the lava that flows after volcanoes erupt.

This volcanic rock has air bubbles in it when it's formed, which are clearly seen when the rock is broken apart and used for landscaping.

There are about three colors of the rock that you can get including red and gray. The color is determined by the minerals that are present as the lava cools.

What are the types of volcanic rocks? (red, black, glass etc)

The most common type of volcano erupted lava rock is black, which is a basalt. It's usually harder than other types and can be quite large in size.

You'll usually find that larger pieces are broken so that they are easier to manage instead of using one large piece in your yard or as a decoration in your home.

It doesn't decompose as easily as pillow rock or volcanic rocks that are of lighter colors.

Do you know that while erupting, air get mixed with lava and ash creating air pockets in the cooled rocks?

If you're looking for something that resembles mulch, then consider red lava rock.

It usually doesn't attract pests and is easy to maintain. It also blends in with its surroundings so that it doesn't stand out in your yard.

natural red lava rock

Red lava rock gets its color because there's more iron present when the magma cools and oxidizes before it hardens. 

Red volcanic rocks tend to last for about six to 12 months before you might want to consider replacing them.

Gray lava rock is similar to black and usually has air bubbles that are closer together so that they aren't as prominent.

This type of rock tends to have a smoother surface as well.

The color of the rock may vary from pink, green, and blue, too. While some are artificially colored, there are some colors that are natural depending on the results of the cooling process.

What are lava rocks used for? (landscape, aquarium, fireplace etc)

The most common use for lava rocks is landscaping. They provide a beautiful decoration around flowers and bushes in flower gardens or around birdbaths. They can also be used along walkways or to create borders in your yard.

You can use smaller rocks to help collect running water in your yard, especially if you are a customer living in a low-lying area that tends to be overrun with water when it rains.

The best way to keep erosion to a minimum is to use these rocks so that you don't lose the natural design of your yard.

Another common use for volcanic rocks by the customer is as a base in a fire pit or in a fireplace.

They can provide a barrier that can help to keep the material from deteriorating over time.

The rocks can help to evenly distribute the heat from the fire so that it's not in one spot, which can help when you're cooking food over an open fire or if you want an even heat source in your home.

Volcanic rocks can be used in aquariums by the customer to help filter the water so that the fishes have a healthy living environment. The holes that are in small pieces of lava rock have bacteria in them that can keep the nitrogen levels in the tank at normal levels and that can help to keep other types of bacteria to a minimum.

How much lava rock do I need? (for each different use case)

hot molten lava rock

The amount of lava rock that you need for landscaping will really depend on how large of an area you want to cover. You want the rock to be about two to three inches deep so that it doesn't move around too much and so that it offers the best coverage possible for the ground so that it helps with water retention and prevents weeds from growing.

About a cubic foot of rock can usually cover six square feet of ground or yard. You want to get a fabric to put underneath the rock to help keep them in place.

If you're using lava rock in a fire pit, then you're not going to need very much. You really only want to get enough to cover the base of the pit or the fireplace about an inch high.

If you start putting too much, then it can begin trapping the heat from the flames that you want to use for warmth or for preparing food. When rocks are put in your aquarium, you'll want to use about a pound for every gallon of water that you have, spreading the rocks out so that they aren't in one place.

Is lava rock fire proof?

Naturally, lava rock is heat-proof. This makes it a good product to use in fire pits and in fireplaces. The volcanic rock tends to disperse flames in multiple directions instead of the flames being focused in one area. Once the volcano erupted rocks begin heating up, they will start radiating heat in the room or to the surrounding area of the fire pit if you're outside.

Is lava rock toxic?

landscaping with lava rock

Most types of lava rock are safe to use in landscaping and for other purposes. Keep in mind that this is a product that comes from volcanoes or magma, so there could be minerals or other particles that aren't as safe as others. Most people clean the rocks used for landscaping, aquariums, and firepits before selling. It can remove a large amount of any particles that could be harmful.

Do volcanic rocks break easily?

Although large pieces of lava rock tend to be easy to break, smaller pieces usually don't deteriorate or become damaged. Since they don't break down as easily, it makes lava rock a good option for absorbing water and for retaining heat instead of using stones or other materials.

What happens if volcanic rocks get wet?

When volcanic rocks get wet, they begin absorbing the moisture in the air bubbles. They will usually retain the water that they collect until they dry out, similar to how a sponge works. If a lava rock from the crust of the earth is heated while it's wet, it can release steam.

red lava rock gravel

Do lava rocks keep snakes away?

If you've noticed snakes lurking around your home, then consider using sharp volcanic rocks in your gardens or right along the border of your home.

This type of lava rock can sometimes deter snakes because the rough edges make it difficult for the snake to slither over. Most snakes like smooth surfaces, such as wood or concrete, which is why lava rock can be beneficial for keeping the pests away.

how to use lava rocks in aquarium

How expensive is lava rock?

The amount you pay for lava rock will depend on how much you get. Most of the time the amount will vary according to the yard size. You're going to pay about $75 for a ton of rock.

This is equal to between $75 and $100 for a cubic yard. If you need a smaller amount, then you'll usually pay about $10 for a bag. This would be what you want to do if you're using the volcanic rock for an aquarium or a fire pit.

Do volcanic rocks fade?

Lava rocks usually don't decompose over time. After being left outside, the color can sometimes fade, especially if they become wet repeatedly or if they are in direct sunlight. They can also lose their shine over time.

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Jack Cullum

Jack Cullum aka "The Box Man" is known to bust a box or two open! He is super into it really! He is also the lead writer for Subscription Boxes for Men. So please connect with him on social and may all your boxes be great!